poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Emperor of Emptying

A cold-eyed Salvator Mundi spirit in a mirror
whose portrait sold recently for $400 million
he shrugs; firsts are brief surprises

Who is this fool, his wary first look says
The mirror’s lie undone
a second kinder facing follows, or maybe
it is the same look remade in sharing

All of time is in him moving like lava, like mud-flow
an army’s impedimentum the wailing of widows and orphans
of lives spent in destruction
the very ground of movement moves with them;
rivers and streams, mountains and forests
muddy roads made and left where none were needed

His seeing is conquest; nothing alters nothing
it was so before it was so
to own is to gather and disperse

He is a master of the passage of an emptiness
that gives and receives itself

He would long have disappeared except for this
under his more benevolent eye there is always more
that needs gathering and dispersing
those blessings we only know
when we know what we can do without

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